There are a number of reasons why the Jaime is the longest running and best selling twin-tip model of all time. Perhaps it’s the super versatile feel, all-round performance and ability to adapt to a huge range of conditions. It could also be its incredibly smooth feel through choppy water and butter soft landings. Although easy to use it still produces explosive pop, similar to North's more powerful new school freestyle boards. But it’s probably mostly due to the fact that Jaime (the man himself) continues to relentlessly refine and improve his model, not only for his own personal enjoyment and progression as a rider, but to please all those loyal fans!
The Track is North's new footstrap mounting system for their twin-tips and works in conjunction with their new NTT footpads. Consisting of two reinforced plastic sliders laminated into the board during the production process, the Track allows for various possibilities of customising your footpad angle and stance for a totally individual fit.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The footstraps and pads are all new and very unusual, providing a very different feel around your foot, with even pressure all over and sitting nice and high up towards your ankle. Multiple Velcro points allow you to feel very slotted in as you can really make adjustments to the contours of your feet. It's all so easy to move and adjust up and down the track too, with nice markers making sure you keep everything symmetrically balanced. It should also be noted that this particular track system allows a more uniform flex through the board without being stiff and restricting at all. If you've got a good footstrap system and good, comfortable but high-performance pads, half the work of the board is done! Well, not really, but it feels like it and rounding off the Jaime is a reassuring weight and the board feels strong – just really solid and built for business, whatever the beach.
Graphically the board is what it is but there's no doubting the usual North quality. Super clean throughout and with superb bonding on the ABS rails, the outline is a good mix of freeride and freestyle, keeping in with Jaime's tradition as an easy-to-use twin-tip that's also packed with performance. For beginners the handle is comfortable and really strong, not too imposing and the 4.7cm fins provide loads of grip and control, but don't make the board feel too tracky for when wanting to switch from heel-to-toe-side. There's a slight concave running through the middle of the board and then a slight concave up to the footstraps before a small amount of channelling inside the fins at either end. Adding lots of comfort, vitally all this bottom shape certainly takes nothing away from the board's speed. The Jaime is incredibly good fun in an honest kitesurfing way. It's not trying to be cool enough for the new school, it's simply a super-developed board devised under the helmsmanship of one of the best all round kitesurfers the sport has seen; who was around for the hairy-scary days a decade ago, then came through the handle-pass ranks and now just enjoys kiting for the thrill of performing whatever the conditions allow. This board is fast, make no mistake, it doesn't hold back at all, but has a soft quality to it with the concave. There's loads of grip, it's not a tray, although there is plenty of forgiveness and it also shoots upwind, even though it was a bit small for us at 133cm. At the more high-performance end of the freeride spectrum there is no problem. Popping is good, although there were times that we were just a bit disappointed with the reaction we got when edging and popping unhooked really hard, but it's definitely well capable.
This is a more 'traditional' kitesurf twin-tip for freeriders looking to ride fast and boost large. The fact it can also freestyle to a decent standard is a huge bonus. You can do anything on this and it will last you for years. It's a timeless shape, adapted over the years and kitted out with the latest of mod cons.
The standout quality of this board is how comfortable it is at high speed and with oodles of bite.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Reducing the weight would reduce the board's immense strength, but some riders are very weight conscious. This and the cockroaches would be all that's left after a nuclear explosion, though.
139 x 42, 136 x 41, 133 x 40 and 130 x 39cm
This test is in issue #57